from Virtuous Daughters, March 2013~Volume 12, Number 12
We finished last time with the reminder that believers are “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), separated unto God for holy purposes. A wonderful promise comes with this separation. God spoke it to the tribe of Levi in Leviticus 18:2: “Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren; the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.” God Himself wants to be our inheritance, our portion! No thing(s) He could ever give us would be equal to the gift of Himself. He said this to Abraham in Genesis 15:1b: “. . . Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” In Him alone is all we really need and more than we could ever want. No one else in all the universe has the ability to satisfy us fully; but our all-sufficient God can and will. Here is His promise to us: “And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness [abundance], and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD” (Jer. 31:14). Let's explore a little bit of what this promise means.
The reference to the priesthood is interesting for us as believers, but even more intriguing is the word satiate. Its Hebrew meaning unlocks a treasure trove of insights. According to Strong's Concordance, satiate is a translation of the Hebrew word râvâh, which has this definition: “to slake the thirst, bathe, make drunk, (take the) fill, (abundantly) satisfy, soak, water (abundantly).” Think about this for a moment. In English, satiate means “to supply to satisfaction or capacity” (World English Dictionary). We tend to think of satiating as making something full—sometimes too full—like a stomach or an appetite for something really pleasurable. Do we ever connect fullness with being thirsty, however? Do we think about thirst as an appetite that needs to be filled? I certainly never did. Yet this is what God says to us. He wants to slake the thirst of His priests, to water the souls of His people abundantly, to soak them in His abundance. The word picture here is connected to moisture—to the thirst for satisfaction that all people experience. This is a stunning realization in light of other word pictures in Scripture.
Think, first, about the cry of David in Psalm 63:1--“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is” (emphasis added; same for the following verses). Or the plea of the psalmist in Psalm 32:1:2--“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Mankind was made to enjoy fellowship with its Maker; and the psalmists compare this need to a burning thirst for water—something everyone has experienced at one time or another. All people thirst for the presence of God, whether they recognize that thirst or not.
In another word picture, Scripture explains God's plan for supplying our need. “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters...” (Isa. 55:1a). “...And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17c). What, exactly, is this water of life to which God bids us come? The psalmist compares it to a river. “...And thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Psa. 36:8). The image is repeated in Psalm 46:4a: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God . . .” Just like a physical river gives us water when we're thirsty, the spiritual river that God provides quenches the thirst in our souls. It brings pleasure and gladness to His people.
Ezekiel saw this very river in a vision of the temple. God gave him a physical picture of a profound spiritual truth. “Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house [the temple]; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the [temple] eastward . . . and it was a river that I could not pass over . . .” (Eze. 47:1, 5). The stream of water Ezekiel sees is literally a river of life—it brings life, healing, and fruitfulness wherever it flows. “. . . [A]nd every thing shall live whither the river cometh. . . . And by the river upon the bank thereof . . . shall grow all trees for [food], whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed . . . and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine” (Eze. 47:9, 12). Why is this such life-giving water? It comes from the very presence of God! “[B]ecause their waters they issued out of the sanctuary,” (Eze. 47:12).
God granted the Apostle John an even more specific view in his vision of heaven: “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). The living, healing, nourishing water revealed to Ezekiel and John flows from God's own throne! This is His way of showing us that He is the source of all life, health, and flourishing! God Himself is the water that satiates our souls! “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed . . . because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters” (Jer. 17:13).
What does this mean in a practical sense? If God compares Himself to life-giving water, exactly how does He satisfy the thirst of our souls? Jesus explains this in the gospel of John. “. . . If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). According to this verse, the thirsty soul must come to Jesus and place its faith in Him. When we do this, the source of living water will be inside us! John explains what Jesus meant by this promise: “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive . . .” (John 7:39). When we surrender our hearts to Jesus and trust Him for salvation, He sends His Holy Spirit to live inside us. The very presence of God comes to dwell in our hearts! Just as the river flowed out of the temple in Ezekiel's vision, living water will flow out of a believer's heart (or “belly”) once his body has become God's temple. King Jesus sets up His royal throne inside you and me; the Holy Spirit comes to reign there; and then the water that flows from His throne will flow in our hearts as well. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
This idea of the Holy Spirit as the bringer of living water goes back to the Old Testament. God revealed to the prophet Isaiah that He was planning to satisfy thirsty souls: “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isa. 44:3). Do you see the word picture here? We have such spiritual thirst that our souls are like dry ground, hard and cracked by a drought. God promises to send us a spiritual flood by pouring His Spirit upon us! His presence within our hearts acts like a river or a rain shower, soaking our thirsty hearts and bringing the dry ground to life once again. This is one of my favorite Old Testament promises.
It brings us back to the word satiate (râvâh) in Jeremiah 31:14. When God says He will soak and satisfy and quench the thirst of priests' souls, He is promising to give us more refreshment and nourishment than we will ever need. He sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within His people's hearts, bringing a never-ending supply of Himself--we should never be spiritually thirsty again!
Give thanks to God for His river of living water (in you!), and drink from it every day. His desire is to soak His chosen ones in the delights of His presence. Remember the “river of thy pleasures” in Psalm 36:8? God uses the word râvâh in connection with it, too. Just as He promises to satiate the souls of the priests, He gives this invitation to the family of believers: “They shall be abundantly satisfied [satiated] with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Psa. 36:8). Quench your thirst for the living God. Soak in His presence today.
“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters...”—Isaiah 55:1
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